ALAMEDA (CBS Sports) – Things are not going well for the Raiders right now. Amari Cooper was just traded from Oakland to the Dallas Cowboys for a first-round pick, and even if you buy into the idea of Jon Gruden putting together a smart plan, it’s clear the Raiders won’t be great during the 2018 season.
But it got ratcheted up a bit during the bye week, as a report of a “fractured relationship” with quarterback Derek Carr and his teammates surfaced and got the attention of Carr himself.
Marcus Thompson of The Athletic initially wrote about the issues between Carr and other Raiders players, stemming from a video that was widely distributed on social media in which Carr appeared emotional on the field.
“They saw his face,” Thompson wrote. “They heard his whimper. They witnessed him explain on the sidelines. They assuredly watched it again in film session. It’s hard to see how Carr can lead this team again.”
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote about Thompson’s piece and, naturally, tweeted out a link to the PFT story. That caught the eye of Carr’s brother Darren Carr, who responded to PFT by calling it “fake news” and pointing out all the different times Derek played with injuries for Oakland.
Darren’s tweet then found its way to the man the story is actually about — Raiders quarterback Derek Carr — who responded by telling his brother to not even “waste your time” dealing with the story.
Carr also provided his first-hand account of what happened, noting that he yelled for his teammates to “get me up” a couple of times and then continued yelling on the sidelines.
Carr then followed that up by issuing a statement of sorts in which he noted it’s not “popular” to “be a Raider right now” but he still loves being on the team and “the struggle of trying to fight back for our city when not a lot of people believe in us.”
So someone looked emotional on the field and then someone else wrote a story about that first person looking emotional and then a third someone else aggregated the story and then the brother of the first person tweeted at the third person and then the first person tweeted at his brother and the third person about it being fake news and denying the whole story.
The bottom line is this: there’s only one person who can refute/deny/affirm the story about Carr getting emotional on the field during an ugly loss to the Seahawks and that’s Carr. We can see what we see with cameras and whatnot, but if Carr says it didn’t happen, we need to take his word for it.
However, it is also entirely plausible/likely that the Raiders are coming apart at the seams. Perhaps it’s not related to Carr on the field — perhaps it’s more related to the obvious realization that the people in charge of the team are checking out on this year’s squad and looking towards Las Vegas. The big losers there are residents of Oakland, but it stings for the players on this team too.
Trading a pair of former first-round picks is a pretty big white flag.
Perhaps even Gruden is doing the thing where he spins up the PR machine in a negative light towards a player he doesn’t plan on keeping around? That would certainly make some sense.
Whatever the case, it’s entirely reasonable that there’s no “fractured relationship” here and that the Raiders are just not a good football team with a lot of dysfunction circulating around as they spiral into a nightmare season. Losing can erode chemistry pretty quickly.